Old time LEO passes away
A friend of mine, Carl Behrens, just died, age 85. He'd been president of Tucson Rod and Gun Club way back, and a Pima County Sheriff's deputy even farther back. Probably in the 1950s and thereafter. Back in the days when there, er, weren't a lot of rules.
He was absolutely fearless. Lots of mafioso retire to Tucson, and the usual rule is that you don't practice your business locally. One, I think it was Bats Battaglia, did. One day Carl visits a business in his patrol district, and finds the owner has a broken leg. Says it was an accident. A few weeks later Carl visits again, and he has a broken arm. Carl questions him and he admits Battaglia's guys are shaking him down for protection money.
Carl knows a restaurant where Battaglia likes to eat dinner. He goes there, out of uniform, and when the mobster goes to the men's room, follows him. When Bats turns around and zips up, Carl (who was a very big guy) grabs him by his coat lapels, lifts him up, and snarls that he's a deputy, he knows he's been shaking down businesses in his patrol district, and if it ever happens again he will visit upon Bats all the injuries that have been inflicted on anyone in his district. Then he leaves.
The shakedowns stopped. The mobster had met a cop who talked his language. I'll add more stories in extended remarks later today.
Carl grew up along the border. As a teen, he confronted three horse rustlers who tried to ride him down. He had a rifle and killed all three. His nickname along the border (I forget it in Spanish) was the little gringo killer.
He flew as a contractor supporting the French in Vietnam. At one point he was copilot on a B-26 set up for strafing, supporting supply drops or runs into Dien Bein Phu. One of the supply aircraft was hit and exploded; it was piloted by a good friend of his pilot. The AA was coming from ridge, the gunners of course facing the camp. His pilot swung the plane around and went after the AA sites. The B-26 had 8 fifty cals in the nose and six more in the wing. He let drive and by the time he ran out of ammo ... well, there was no more AA from that ridge.
A big wash (sorta like a riverbed without water, except when it rains -- and then full of water traveling at dangerous speeds) cuts across the north end of Tucson, between the city and the foothills. Now, most of the major roads across it have bridges, but for many years only a few did, the rest just ran thru the wash. One night he'd staked out the country club up there, figuring to catch some high-roller in DUI. It was raining. He follows a car that is weaving somewhat. It turns down into the wash and goes into the water. It was deeper than the driver thought, car gets stuck. Carl wades out and retrieves driver, an older fellow, and a young blonde, and takes them to the hospital, in the course of it ruining his shoes. Guy is obnoxious.
Carl runs his driver's license, gets his home number. Calls, and a woman answers. Bingo! His wife! Carl tells her what happened, assures her her husband is OK. Then adds "and your daughter is, too."
Silence. Then "we don't have a daughter." Carl responds innocently that he was confused. There was a young blonde lady in the car. "Thank you, deputy, I'll be HAPPY to come to the hospital."
He waits a bit, until an older lady storms into the ER and begins calling the guy a cheating bastard. Carl leans in doorway and waves a cheerful goodbye to the guy.
In the old days, there was an attorney here who disliked LEOs and specialized in taking divorce cases against them, and being cut-throat. They decided to deal with him (remember this is in the old days, when there were no rules). He's a lady's man, and one night he picks up a very cute woman who is very attracted to him. She was actually a high-class hooker hired by contributions from LEOs. She wants to go to a fancy hotel and restaurant in Nogales, in Mexico. They go. They go up to the room, she mixes a drink, and while fumbling with her he becomes semi-comatose. Knock-out drops. He awakens in the morning, mystified, and comes back here.
A week or so later he receives a package of photos taken that night. She slipped out of bed, and a young boy slipped in, and you can guess what pictures were posed. Attached is a note saying that unless he leaves town by a certain deadline, copies will be mailed to every judge and major law firm in town. He moved to Colorado.